After three seasons in the playoffs and a combined 37 regular-season wins from 2009-11, the New Orleans Saints suffered through a misery-filled 2012 campaign that not only resulted in a losing season, but also a tie for the franchise’s worst record since a three-win 2005 slate.
The Saints were bad in 2012, and the biggest culprit probably was the chaos caused by the fallout of the pay-for-injury bounty scandal. Assistant coaches Aaron Kromer and Joe Vitt handled the coaching carousel during head coach Sean Payton's season-long suspension, but the team never found its rhythm without Payton at the helm.
The porous defense in New Orleans was also an issue. The Saints gave up a single-season worst 7,042 yards to opposing offenses. The previous record was held by the 1981 Baltimore Colts, who gave up 6,793 yards.
New Orleans ranked next-to-last against the pass, allowing 4,681 yards through the air, and was the worst in the league against the run, allowing 2,361 rushing yards.
So while the 2012 season will always be remembered as the year Bountygate rocked the franchise, looking ahead to 2013 brings smiles to Saints fans as an opportunity for redemption.
Recent success in New Orleans has always been measured by tracking its offense. Quarterback Drew Brees captains a unit that lights up scoreboards and pads win columns. If the Saints hope to be playoff-bound in 2013, their offense will once again have to shine.
Here are six reasons the Saints offense will return to dominance in 2013.